Michigan Tech takes men’s hockey season

After starting the season losing seven of its first 13 games along with the arrival of a new head coach, doubt was in the air this year for the Minnesota State Men’s hockey team. 

Despite the doubt, the Mavericks found themselves in the same position they were in a year ago in the semifinals of the CCHA playoffs where they faced the Michigan Tech Huskies.  

The Mavericks went 18-14-4 to get to this stage, but ultimately fell short Saturday, losing 4-3 as the Huskies scored the game winner in the last nine seconds of the game. 

“Obviously, they play a good home game there’s no question,” said head coach Luke Strand in a press conference after the game. “They get behind you and they skate. I wasn’t really worried because I thought we were in a good spot. We were keeping shots to the outside. But then, just in the trench of the game, you had to raise the intensity. Credit to the opposition.”

The Mavericks got off to a hot start and early within seven minutes of the first period. Lucas Sowder skated through the neutral zone and lifted the puck past goaltender Blake Pietila for his 13th of the season. 

The Mavericks were unable to convert their 12 shots after the goal, and went into the second period with a one goal lead. 

The Huskies didn’t take too long to respond as they scored three minutes into the second period. After a failed clearance from the Mavericks, Jack Works tied it for the Huskies. 

The Mavericks quickly responded six minutes later as Pietila saved Mason Wheeler’s shot, but the rebound fell to Will Hillman who hit a one time shot for his second goal of the season. 

It was a back and forth affair the rest of the period with both teams putting pressure on each other. The Mavericks headed into the third period with a 2-1 lead, and both teams each had 23 shots on goal up that point. 

The Huskies began the third on a power play and took advantage as Kash Rasmussen scored to tie the game. 

The Mavericks began to put pressure on the Huskies after their power play which resulted in the Mavs third goal of the night. Adam Eisele skated through the Husky defenders and then through the neutral zone and shot a screamer from the top of the right circle. 

It was a back and forth game between the two teams until there was 15:27 left on the clock. A penalty shot was awarded to the Huskies while they were on a power play after a Maverick player closed his hand on the puck. 

Husky captain Logan Pietila converted on the penalty shot goal to bring the game level at 3-3. 

The Huskies took control quickly and gained momentum putting up four shots in the final minute of play with Alex Tracy saving three of them. 

The Mavericks found their season end in an unlikely and unlucky way after the puck sailed back into the crease off the end glass and deflected off Jordan Powers for the huskies game winner with 9.1 seconds left on the clock. 

The Mavericks ended their season with an 18-15-4 overall record. 

Eight Maverick seniors played their last game on Saturday: Sam Mortom, Lucas Sowder, Jordan Powers, Brandon Koch, Jordan Steinmetz, Tony Malinowksi, Tanner Edwards, and Connor Gregga. 

“The guys that stayed committed to the family and the program and the logo here,” Strand said. “The seniors who did it are exceptional in my opinion. The guys that came in dug in with both feet. They are tremendous people and the seniors deserve the most merit.”

Header Photo: The Minnesota State men’s hockey team season ends after after suffering defeat to Michigan Tech thanks to a goal with 9.1 seconds left by the Huskies. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)

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